Forged prescription practices are of growing concern in the U.S. One look at the opioid epidemic explains why. In 2017 alone, there were between 42,000 and 50,000 overdose deaths, depending on which set of numbers you believe.
Legitimate. Illegitimate. People have gained more access to these prescription medications through a variety of methods. It impacts families in virtually every community.
Cracking Down on Forged Prescription Practices
The methods of committing prescription fraud are innovative, to say the least. Some of these include:
- Handwritten prescriptions on stolen stationery
- Alteration of legitimate prescriptions to include higher quantities
- Replicating prescription pads to include alternate phone numbers
- Computer forgeries
- Having the same prescription filled at different pharmacies
As a result, the government is getting tough on prescription fraud. In each of the above cases, perpetrators count on the negligence of healthcare professionals.
Sometimes, as in the case of Pennsylvania-based Dr. Raymond Kraynak, the criminal investigation focus is on the doctor himself.
Kraynak is a 60-year-old doctor who allegedly ran a “pill mill.” That is, he allegedly prescribed millions of opioids, leading to the deaths of five people. Kraynak was indicted in December of 2017 on 19 criminal counts.
The Punishment(s) for Prescription Fraud
Forged prescription and other fraudulent practices can lead to serious consequences. A doctor or pharmacist can forever lose their ability to earn a living. Education: out the window.
They could also end up in jail and/or paying fines, penalties, or huge settlements.
Forgeries are considered Class B misdemeanors in their initial sentencing. Subsequent incidents will push them to felony status.
What’s worse, prescription fraud violates both federal and state laws. You could be looking at two separate charges if suspected of participating in fraudulent activities.
Most will be brought forth under state law, Texas Health and Safety Code, §489.129. Larger schemes will go to the feds as a violation of Title 21, United States Code.
What to Do About Forged Prescription Charges
The first thing you should do: seek an attorney with experience fighting forged prescription charges. John Teakell, a veteran attorney who’s practiced more than 30 years, has fought against criminal charges for numerous clients during his career.
His strategy is to prove his clients’ innocence or mitigate damages to help clients move on with their lives and careers. Because each case is different,
Teakell cannot guarantee a specific outcome, but he can guarantee a strong legal strategy specific to your case.
If you are facing a charge related to prescription drug abuse, contact Teakell Law today.